The European Biennial Network has initiated, with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union, the Biennial Exchange and Residency Programme: a two-year cycle of workshops, residency and traineeship programmes, research visits, and networking events. These activities are designed to reflect the diversity of different approaches to contemporary art, and to create opportunities for research, exchange of ideas, and creative partnerships.
The Liverpool Biennial is the UK's largest festival of contemporary visual art. Established in 1998, this year will see the fifth festival take place. Since its inception, this international exhibition has commissioned well over 100 new works, many for the streets and public spaces of Liverpool, by established contemporary artists from around the world.
European Biennial Network & The International Curators Forum.
Is it appropriate on the opening day of Liverpool Biennial to look at the long-term results of biennials? Or is the primary role of biennials to provide a short-term injection into the bloodstream of art and city.
Can they do both? Since the expansion and proliferation of biennials in the 1990s, can we now begin to detect accumulative benefits within their local arts ecologies? If so, why does criticism focus mainly upon the reception of authored curatorial strategies in an ever-expanding global art world?
This debate brings a number of European biennials together to focus the spotlight behind the scene and looks at different approaches of biennials to connect curatorial models with the cultural infrastructure in their cities. An expert panel of invited international curators, artists, commissioners and writers will represent those responsible for the organisation of the biennials.
Chaired by Paul O'Neill, Research Fellow Situations, University of the West of England; with Kerstin Bergendal, artist, and author of Kunstplan Trekoner; Paul Domela, Programme Director Liverpool Biennial; Annie Fletcher, curator van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven; Bige Orer, Director Istanbul Biennial; Renate Wagner, Berlin Biennale; Augustine Zenakos, founder and co-director Athens Biennial; and others and Jan Verwoert, contributing editor at Frieze.
We all experience artworks at different velocities and much has been said about the need for artworks to engage us in both the spectacular flash of first impact and the slow retinal aftershocks of perception.
This vertiginous moment is perhaps most precarious within the context of the international biennial when as the curtain rises the accumulation of ideas is exposed and the work becomes a spectacle in an international melee of artworks.
Hosted by David A. Bailey, Director of ICF and Senior Curator at Autograph, with contributions from Lina Dzuverovic, Curator of Nordic Biennial 2009, co-founder and Director of Electra; Cedar Lewisohn, Curator of Tate Modern Street Art and Tate Triennial, Axel Lapp, Contributing Editor Art Review, publisher and curator; Jiyoon Lee, Director of SUUM and Curator of Fantasy Studio Project; Ed Linse of Artists Anonymous, an art collective based in Berlin and writer and critic J.J. Charlesworth.
The Liverpool Biennial
20 September - 30 November 2008
photos © Julia Waugh.